Money and Selfishness: Are You a Slave to Self?
Don’t let money and selfishness turn you into somebody you don’t want to be.
Sometimes we all have trouble being the people we wish we were… and we don’t even realize we’re falling short. Things like money and selfishness can warp our hearts and send our lives in some ugly directions.
Everybody struggles with selfishness from time to time. And it can cause all sorts of problems in our lives. The older you get, the easier it becomes to hide your selfishness behind a polished exterior. But hiding the struggles in your heart doesn’t make them go away. And one of the best ways to determine if selfishness is driving you is to look at the ways that you think about your money.
The Bible teaches that money can make slaves of us in all sorts of ways. Some of those ways are overt. Others, like selfishness, are sneaky and difficult to see… unless you’re willing to take a hard, honest look at yourself.
Truth is, it’s a lot easier to be selfish with our money than it is to generous. If you don’t make a conscious effort to be a giver, selfishness can creep into your attitudes and make a slave of you from inside your own heart.
Think I’m overstating it? Maybe not. Here are five signs that you might be a slave to selfishness. See if you recognize any of these from your own life.
1) You think the world owes you something.
You believe that you’re special and should be rewarded for your extraordinary gifts and abilities. Maybe you grew up surrounded by comfort and a high standard of living, and you expect that same luxury throughout your life. When you encounter challenges, you feel that the world is being unfair to you. You have a keen eye for injustice being done to you, but you are blind to the injustices taking place in the world around you.
2) You use relationships to get, not to give.
You’re constantly looking to your family members to give you things, help you with problems and meet your needs. But you rarely show up to help them in the same ways that they help you. You’re strategic in the way you chose your friends. You build relationships with people who can benefit you or help you get ahead. You don’t have time for anyone who isn’t useful to you. And you have no problem abandoning old friendships if better opportunities come along.
3) You’re ignore those in need around you.
You spend so much time thinking about your own life that you don’t recognize the needs of people around you. Nobody you know is struggling financially, and you never visit the part of town where you might see real poverty. When you see images of poverty in the media, you turn the page, change the channel or mute the sound. And when you do thing about people less fortunately than you, you’re quick to blame them for their own problems and slow to consider what you could do to help them.
4) You justify your lack of generosity.
You know giving is a good thing but also think you have good reasons for not doing it. In your mind, the particular challenges of your challenges excuse you from God’s commandments of generosity. You tell yourself you’ll start giving once you get that next raise, finish saving money for your next home or get the kids off to college. There are plenty of other people out there to give, so it’s okay to let them care for others. You have enough trouble of your own.
5) You give publicly.
You don’t have any problem giving money away — in fact, you love the way that it makes you feel. And you love it when other people know exactly how generous you’re being. You attend every fundraiser and charity auction you can, and you’re excited about the visibility and opportunities that might come about when others see how a kind you are. Your dream of having a public building named in your honor because you gave so much money toward having it built.
Escaping Money and Selfishness
If you recognize yourself any of those descriptions, it’s a clue that selfish motivations may be controlling you more than you’d like to admit. I’ve found myself stuck in each of those attitudes at one time or another. Money and selfishness are a powerful cocktail that can lead my heart to some dark places.
Hope is not lost, though. God made you to be generous, compassionate and selfless. If you commit yourself to the things He asks you to do, He will change your heart and set you free from the slavery of selfishness.
My journey through faith has taken me from a heart of selfishness to a heart of generosity, which has led me to authentic financial freedom. I would love to walk with you on that same road. My free e-book, “God’s Master Plan for Your Money,” will give you lots of wisdom, encouragement and practical tips to help you find financial freedom and grow in generosity. It’s yours free today when you fill out this form: